Pitfalls of Facebook likes as a metricIf it feels like you´re taking the lazy option, you often are. Take measuring content: it might appear it´s just a matter of counting up the likes and shares, but as you probably suspect, there´s more to it than that.

That´s not to say they don´t act as a useful metric – they do – but measuring content on the appeal to your audiences´ sense of “what they like” doesn´t really paint the whole picture of how successful a piece of content has been.

Are you telling them what they need to hear to increase their propensity to convert with your brand, for example, or are you simply playing up to what makes them smile? Making customers smile is rarely a bad thing, of course, but inquisitive faces are what you really want.

So, how do you measure them exactly? I came across an article on the State of Digital website which gives some pointers.

1. Draw out your user segments

Acting as the initial stage of the measuring process, identify and segment your key customer audience groups that you are trying to speak to and influence.

The number of different user segments depends on the scope of your marketing, the size of your website and how detailed you wish the analysis to be. You can go into as much depth as you wish: segmenting by level of exposure to different marketing campaigns or channels, entry and behaviour in different areas of the site, or previous conversion history.

2. Decipher the path of customers

Discovering that a user has made their way to your site is all well and good – but what did they do once they´d made the trip? Event tracking through Google Analytics allows you to track the steps (or interactions) taken by readers once they land.

As a bare minimum, you should be looking to decipher: scroll depth (how much of the article has been read); user comments; clicks through to other areas of the site; likes, shares and other social engagements; and video plays/downloads.

3. Conversions + segments = results

Once you´ve laid out your user segments and listed the desired actions you want to see on your site you can start combining the two. For example, you can begin to work out how many of a particular segment have read an entire article, or if a segment has been influenced as you envisaged by a piece of content.

This allows you to compile a set of results which give a clear indicator of how a particular segment behaved both in terms of how they responded to the article and then after having engaged in a certain way.

Remember, whilst you have rightly identified your target audience, don´t then assume they all fit under one umbrella. Bearing that in mind will allow you to make better decisions on your content – which is what everyone strives to do.

What methods have you found useful for measuring content? What tools can be utilised in this respect?

Ben Hollom

November 25, 2014